Thursday, January 29, 2009

Hemsloyd and long winter nights

We are now ready for our third night without power and it may still be a matter of days before power is restored. We went to a friend's house to bathe, and being clean is one of those things we in the western world take pleasure in. Today we began working on the library steps, removing ice, but there is still no power in most of town, so there is no real hurry. The library probably won't be open tomorrow. I have lost the week of school.

The most interesting thing is going to bed so dog-goned early each night. You can only do so much reading by candle light. You may have seen reports about Northwest Arkansas in the news. The reports are true. The power outage is wide spread. My wife is the best person in the world to be snowed in with, and while we worry about the elderly, and those at home alone, we know we are living history. This is the worst ice storm on record for Eureka Springs. The damage is widespread, but our home is safe and warm, and we are, too.

At one time throughout Scandinavia, where the nights can be so long, people kept active during the winter months making things. The native crafts of Sweden are called Hem Sloyd, or home craft. And today the HemSloyd organization in Sweden is very much like the American Craft Council in the US, advocating a resurgence of craftsmanship. I keep thinking, maybe instead of going to bed so early, or trying to read by flashlight, some carving might be in order. If only I could do it without leaving so many wood chips behind. The interesting thing about Hemsloyd was that not only did it provide a means of making extra income, by making beautiful things, it provided a sense of well-being despite the darkest and coldest nights. But then today, most people would rather watch television and take anti-depressants. I am very sorry for what they are missing.

The photo above was taken this morning out the back our our house, looking into the frosty forests of Arkansas.

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